Amazon Sets Sights on U.K. Grocery With Checkout-Free Trademark

  • U.K. approves trademark for futuristic Amazon Go stores
  • Amazon seeking to build share of $800 billion grocery market

An Amazon Go store in Seattle, Washington.

Photographer: David Ryder/Bloomberg Inc. is laying the groundwork to bring its checkout-free grocery store Amazon Go to Europe, as the U.S. giant steps up its efforts to crack the $800 billion global market.

The U.K. Intellectual Property Office on Friday approved the Seattle-based company’s application to trademark the slogans “No Lines. No Checkout. (No, Seriously.)” and “No Queue. No Checkout. (No, Seriously.)” A corresponding application is being reviewed by the European Union’s equivalent agency.

The strap line is used in a promotional video for Amazon Go on YouTube that’s been viewed more than 9 million times. The company has opened a futuristic test store under that name in Seattle that has no cashiers or checkouts. Instead, it uses sensors and a smartphone application to top up customers’ “virtual shopping carts” when they remove items from shelves and place them in their bags. When they leave the store, Amazon adds up the cost of items purchased and charges shoppers’ accounts.

Amazon declined to comment.

The company’s desire to crack the grocery industry is a concern for British supermarket operators Tesco Plc and J Sainsbury Plc, which are struggling to retain shoppers amid stiff competition from discounters Aldi and Lidl. Last year Amazon launched its online grocery delivery service Fresh in the U.K. and also partnered with Wm Morrison Supermarkets Plc to bolster its product range.

Click here for an in-depth look at Amazon’s global grocery battle

The U.K., with a well-developed e-commerce industry, is a regular first stop outside the U.S. for Amazon when it’s introducing new services. Amazon is testing three brick-and-mortar grocery formats in Seattle -- Amazon Go, drive-in grocery kiosks and a hybrid supermarket that mixes online and in-store shopping.

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